August 13, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
ANNOUNCES PLAN TO PAY $12.8 MILLION TO MARYLAND HOUSEHOLD BORROWERS
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that notices are being
sent to approximately 16,000 Maryland mortgage holders notifying
them of their eligibility to share in the State's $12.8 million
settlement with Household International. Consumers who obtained
a mortgage loan directly from Household from January 1999 through
September 2002 will be sent a form to claim a payment that will
range from $100 to $12,000, depending on the specifics of their
loan and the number of consumers who participate in the settlement.
"We were pleased to negotiate a strong settlement with Household
that not only changes its lending practices but also includes restitution
for Maryland consumers," Curran said.
The consumer payment program stems from the landmark settlement,
finalized in December 2002, between Household International and
the attorneys general and banking regulators of all 50 states and
the District of Columbia. Household International, through its subsidiaries
Household and Beneficial Finance, is one of the nation's largest
sub-prime mortgage lenders. The settlement resolved an investigation
by the states into allegations of unfair and deceptive mortgage
lending practices by Household. The states alleged that Household
had overcharged borrowers with fees and interest, and had misled
borrowers about other loan terms such as prepayment penalties and
Under the settlement, Household agreed to implement a series of
reforms in its lending operations. Court injunctions in place in
all 50 states restrict prepayment penalties on current and future
home loans, prohibit loan "flipping," limit up-front points
and origination fees, and improve loan disclosures.
Household also agreed to pay $484 million dollars to the states
to be distributed to eligible Household borrowers. The monetary
settlement was the largest ever obtained by state attorney generals
in a consumer protection case.
Mortgage loans covered under the Maryland settlement include those
originated by Household's retail branches from January 1, 1999 through
September 30, 2002 that have one or more of the following characteristics:
a loan-to-value ratio greater than 100 percent; more than three
points charged; a prepayment penalty; participation in Household's
E-Z Pay program, a refinancing of the loan by Household within one
year of the original Household loan; and life, disability, and/or
real estate insurance. The amount consumers will receive as restitution
will be determined by the practices that took place in their loans
and by how many Maryland consumers decide to participate in the
All Household customers who are eligible to receive a settlement
payment should receive a mail notice from the settlement administrator
within the next week. Consumers who wish to participate in the settlement
will have to complete and return a simple claim and release form.
The actual settlement payments will then be paid directly to the
consumers by check before the end of the year.
Household mortgage loan customers who have questions about the settlement
payment procedures can call (toll-free)1-888-780-2156 or visit the
settlement administrator's website at www.household-beneficial-settlement.com.